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A visit to D.C. generally involves visits to a few museums, a walk down the mall and a photo beside the Washington Monument, but that’s not all the District has to offer in terms of experiences.
Washington isn’t just neoclassical government buildings and amazing museums—it’s also home to some of the best restaurants, bars and shopping. We asked D.C. chapter chairs Liza Rao of Gallagher & Associates, Hannah Olin of Gensler and Christopher Smith of Gelberg Signs for their top picks for things to do in the nation’s capital, below.
Explore & Experience
- Begin your trip with SEGD’s insider museum tours offered Thursday morning and afternoon before the Exhibition & Experience Design event.
- Check out D.C.’s colorful street murals for a completely free and totally Instagram-worthy experience (don’t forget to include #segdexhibition).
- Take a stroll down Blagden Alley in Shaw—a neighborhood with popular restaurants, shops and the D.C. Alley Museum.
- First time in Washington? Don’t miss these quintessential D.C. museum experiences.
- Channel your inner kid at the Building Museum’s “Fun House” exhibit.
- Live out your dreams of going to Burning Man (while on business no less!) at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Bonus: “No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick Walking Tour”
- Check out the latest immersive, innovative digital exhibition at Artechouse. Bonus: Artechouse has an evening admission option and a bar.
- Need to unwind? Catch a relaxing, free Jazz concert in the Sculpture Garden on the grounds of the National Gallery of Art.
- Jazz not your scene? There is a Friday night concert series at the Yards Park.
Sip & Savor
- Staying for the weekend? Stop by Eastern Market, Union Market, or Dupont Farmers Market for local produce, food vendors and homemade art and crafts.
- Still hungry? Great food trucks can be found all over the city for a quick and tasty lunch.
- Head down to the Georgetown Waterfront for an evening of eating, drinking, shopping and strolling along the river.
D.C. Chapter Chair-recommended restaurants by neighborhood
- Capitol Hill: Little Pearl, Ted’s Bulletin
- Shaw: Chaplin’s, Dacha Beer Garden
- U Street: Gaslight Tavern, American Ice
- Ivy City: La Puerta Verde
- Navy Yard: Agua 301, The Salt Line
- Logan Circle: Doi Moi, Le Diplomate, Players Club
- Penn Quarter: Oyamel, Rasika, Dirty Habit
- Foggy Bottom: Founding Farmers
- Dupont Circle: Agora
Browse & Buy
- Go to Kramerbooks & Afterwords to pick up a book for the flight home—and stay awhile at the café/bar.
- Little Leaf is an adorable one-stop shop for plants, paper goods and gifts.
- Stop by the Made in DC Shop for local coffee, chocolate, art, clothing and more. Support local artisans and pick up some unique gifts in one fell swoop.
- Miss Pixie’s, self-described as “furnishings and whatnot,” is one of a number of intriguing shopping opportunities along 14th Street.
- Find a new favorite outfit in Georgetown’s shopping district.
P.S. Don’t forget to join SEGD on Thursday evening for the D.C. Chapter Social Mixer to kick off the E&E event!